Introduction by Chaz Powter
I’ve read diaries published by all sorts of well known people, and to tell the truth, there ain’t nothing particularly special about them, except that they’re well known.
So I don’t see why I shouldn’t publish my own diary if I feel like it. I’m sure there’s a couple of the chaps that might get a giggle from reading it, and nowadays with all this digital publishing at our fingertips it ain’t necessary to sell it to hoity-toity stuck-up publisher with a fancy double barrelled name.
So I’m thinking why not? It doesn’t matter one bit that I’m not a ‘somebody’. And listen pal, if you don’t like it then nobody’s making you hang around and read it. So just jog on, mate. Do one. It don’t bother me, like.
Charles (Chaz) Powter
Canvey Island Court
Dealing with letting agents, meeting some of our new neighbours, finding our bearings and some friends drop by for an unexpected house warming.
Me and Shanice finally scraped together the deposit for a little flat in Docklands and moved in last week. We had to put down three and a half grand deposit, and then on top of that another month’s rent, fifteen hundred quid, before we could get the keys. The estate agent got right on my nerves as he was an irritating little git completely up himself and he was lucky he didn’t get a good slap off of me at one point. But as Shanice said: ‘Leave him, Chaz, he ain’t worth it!’ Of course she was right.
The flat’s pretty nice. Two bedrooms, a small kitchen, a bathroom and a main living room. We’re on the sixteenth floor and the views are fantastic. Been in seven days now and luckily the lifts is reliable with no need to go schlepping up and down the stairs so far.
Neighbours seem pretty diamond too. One lady from across the landing rang the bell and when I looked through the little spy-hole lens on the door and opened it she wanted to welcome us with a lovely bottle of Claret – which turned out to be red! Shanice likes a nice bottle of Prosecco but we bunged the Claret in the fridge and it did the job very nicely. As I opened the bottle I made a great joke. I said, ‘I know you prefer Prosecco, Shaz, but wine not try Claret for a change?’ We roared with laughter at that.
Most of the neighbours are ‘City’ types I’d say, that is if the motors parked up in the basement are anything to go by. I suppose I break the mould a bit as I’m a plumber and my van looks a little out of place parked beside the BMWs and Mercs. But now here’s the thing, none of them motors has hardly moved an inch this past week. Who uses a motor much living in Docklands? It’s just stupid to have one if you ask me. They’re just there for show I reckon. But my van is a necessity, I couldn’t do my job without it, could I? A plumber without a van’s is about as much use as an ashtray on a motorbike.
Mind, I don’t work for anybody. I got my own business and it’s doing very well thanks very much. That’s how we’re able to afford the flat. ‘Charlie, always be your own boss and don’t work for no jumped-up so and so,’ my old fella always said and I took him at his word. Being my own boss suits me nicely.
We really needed to get into our own gaffe as we’d been living round her Mum’s for the last eighteen months and things were getting close to breaking point to be fair. Her Mum’s alright and that but I think she was getting a bit fed up with us. She’d begun to make the odd sarky remark about dishes left in the sink and hair building up in the bath plughole and stuff. We hadn’t had any kick-offs but it weren’t too far away.
We was just settling down to watch BGT when the bell went and I went to see who it was. I could see a couple of my mates, Turnup and Legget through the little lens. We wasn’t in the mood for visitors and I was going to pretend we wasn’t in when I knocked over a vase with some flowers in it that Shaz’s Mum had give us the day we moved in. It made a right racket and they heard me.
‘Come on, Chaz, open up,’ shouted Turnup ‘Yeah, stop shagging and open the door you tosser,’ added Legget.
With the noise they were making I had no option but to let them in before they got me in the bad books of the neighbours. Turned out they’d been into a curry house round the corner and brought us a takeaway for four along with some beers and a bottle of Lambrusco for Shanice. I winked at her and I said. ‘I know you prefer Prosecco, Shaz, but wine not try this Lambrusco?’ We both fell about on the spot completely helpless with laughter but Turnup and Legget didn’t even crack a smile. Mind you, they ain’t the sharpest tools in the box to be fair. So I just went into the kitchen and got the plates and knives and forks and that for the grub.
We mixed and matched the dishes and tucked in. ‘Not exactly Buck House, is it Chaz. I mean where are you going to put the coach and horses?’ said Turnup looking around sniffily and Legget agreed with him. But if them two have a fault then it’s jealousy I’d say.
After we’d finished the food, which was pretty nice so I asked them which takeaway they’d used for future reference, we watched BGT. There was a woman on there whose Gran had just been laid to rest but who would’ve loved to see her grand daughter on telly. Turns out the woman only started singing cos her Gran wanted her to.
Her Mum and Dad had died last year in a freak accident and her sister was terminally ill in hospital. But it was really lovely as they played a video message from her sister before she sang, but then when she finished there was a big surprise when the medical team wheeled the hospital bed onto the stage where the woman couldn’t see it. Next thing her sister taps her on the shoulder and it all goes berserk. Then it turns out the sister had been miraculously cured. It was amazing.
She weren’t a bad singer although as Turnup said ‘she’s a bit wobbly on the high notes,’ but none of us was surprised when she got four yeses and got through to the next round. Some people say BGT’s a cynical and manipulative show completely designed to make Simon Cowell even richer, but it ain’t. It’s straight up and me and Shaz loves it.
Turnup and Legget left about midnight and in the end it turned out that we had enjoyed a nice little evening and a sort of unexpected house warming.
I have a barney in the basement car park, Me and Shaz go to the cinema where there’s another barney, hassles with the Gasman, Shaz says I should do something about my quick temper and her sister turns up unexpectedly with bad news.
The day got off to a bit of a bad start this morning when I come down to get the van ready for work. I was stood there stooping into the back of the van with the doors open and sorting some stuff out when this geezer taps me on the shoulder. A right jumped-up pillock he was. All sharp suit and dripping in hair gel.
‘I hope you’ll be careful when parking that van as that’s my BMW,’ he says and indicates this motor parked in the next bay.
‘Excuse me, pal?’ I replied and he repeats his self.
I had a wrench in me hand at the time so I turned round and stands up to him. ‘Listen mate, if you put even the slightest mark in my van I’ll put a bigger one in you with this wrench, do you get me?’
Well it was a bit confrontational, I’ll admit, but the fella had caught me at just the wrong time. I’d just found out that another fella I’d done a two grand job for the previous week had paid me with a rubber cheque. So I weren’t in the best of moods to be fair.
Anyway rightly or wrongly that’s what I said and although thinking back now as I write I’m not proud of it, but it did the trick as matey-boy wilted like a wet lettuce, got into his motor and drove off as quickly as he could. I smiled to meself as he only just missed another car in the next bay.
I got a call from Shaz in the afternoon saying the Gas Man was on his way to the flat to fit a new smart meter and could I come home if I was in the area. I was only a mile away so finished what I was doing and went back to the flat.
I arrived just after I got there and the guy was fiddling about with the meter and tutting. ‘This is a DNR 2345 meter, mate,’ he says. ‘I aunt got the right fitting with me cos my paperwork says you’ve got a DNR 2344. The diameter of the thread is wrong. Look.’ And he shows me the paperwork. Well I had to agree of course there was no getting away from it. The bit of kit he had with him was all wrong. At least three mil’ out. ‘I’ll have to come back next week with the right part,’ he said. I told him he’d better have the right bit with him next week or there’ll be a right kick-off if he hasn’t.
Well after he’d gone that left us at a bit of a loose end, me and Shaz, and we decided to go and see a film at the multiplex. So I looked on Google and the latest Star Wars has just opened and we decide on that. Well what a bad idea that turned out to be. It was rubbish and the cinema was full of wallys all kitted up in different gear. Wookies, bleedin’ robots, Princesses and all sorts, and of course then just as the lights go down in walks this geezer who’s about six feet ten dressed as a Darth Vader. And where does he sit? Right in front of Shaz and now she can’t see nothing on the screen.
I wouldn’t of minded except there was some empty seats just two places further along his row, so I taps him on the shoulder and asks nicely if he’d mind moving two seats over so Shaz could see. But he told me that he was happy where he was and that he weren’t going to move and if we didn’t like it: ‘then tough shit, pal. If that don’t suit you then you better do something about it or shut up and let me see the film. Got it?’
Well that was it as he was being a total berk and I weren’t about to stand for that. So I leans over his seat and plants a good right hook on the side of his helmet thing with my bottle of Coke and that shifted him right enough. He’s leapt backwards over the seat and next thing we’re having a right set-to right in the middle of the stalls. Shaz starts screaming: ‘Leave him Chaz,’ but by then the security turns up and tells us to pack it in or we’ll get slung out, so we agree and matey moves to a different seat. He knew what was good for him.
When the film’s over we decide to go and get a pizza and share a bottle of wine. Over dinner we chat about this and that. At one point Shaz blurts out: ‘Chaz, I’m getting worried about your temper. That’s at least three run-ins you’ve already had today with people. You’re going to get into trouble if you can’t learn to chill out a bit and take thing a little easier.’ I told her she was talking ‘bollocks’ and that I am chilled out but she kept saying that I weren’t. I was just about to rear up and suddenly realised she might have a point so I just sat there and said nothing when we finished our meal. Mind I nearly lost it when she told me to ‘stop sulking like a big kid,’ but just bit my lip and it all calmed down again. maybe Shaz does have a point.
The day just went further downhill when we got home because when we arrived at the flat Shaz’s sister, Penny, was stood there with a suitcase. I sensed there was something up as soon as I saw her cos she’s burst into tears as soon as we show up.
‘I’m up the spout, Shaz,’ she says, ‘and that no good two-timing bastard, Paul, (her partner) is messing around with his ex.’ Next thing they was both in floods of tears and I left them there to sort it out. ‘You and Pen look lie you might need to have a family chat, I’m off down The Feathers for a few beers.’ Shaz agreed that it was a good idea so that’s what I done and by the time I got back to the flat it was in darkness so I just got ready for bed. Little did I know what the next day held…